Emily LaStarza, R.D.

Emily LaStarza has become a role model for LTC employees to emulate.

Details

Regional Clinical Nutrition Manager, Morrison, White Horse Village, Newtown Square, PA
Age: 27
Education: B.S. from West Chester University; working on master’s in human nutrition from the University of Alabama
Years at organization: 3

Why Selected?

Ian Bowen, director of dining services with Morrison, says: Emily is a person who is meticulous, detail-oriented and a stickler for doing things the right way because she understands that the benefit will be great. She has that appreciation for her surroundings that is not commonly seen in people who have not been in the workforce for very long. Employees see that and want to be like her. That is the ultimate compliment. She is energetic and smart and is a true all star.
 

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

Shortly after I got here we went through culture change. We transitioned from a traditional trayline to more of a restaurant-style service and a country kitchen setup. I was in charge of that.

Q. What would you say you excel at over more seasoned colleagues?

There’s an antiquated view of dietitians, especially in long-term care. In our company dietitians take on more of a management role and not just clinical. As a younger professional coming into this industry that’s something I excel at over seasoned colleagues who really focus only on the clinical side.
 

Q. What's the best career advice you've been given?

Surround yourself with people who are more intelligent than you are.

Q. What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?

Juggling my master’s degree work while working full time. I just stepped into the regional support role. In foodservice there are fires that need to be put out, so it’s more than just the clinical stuff that needs to get done. You learn to write everything in your schedule in pencil.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

One thing we’re really proud of is our puréed program. The foods are molded and they look like the actual food. After a resident on the puréed diet passed away the family came to us and said they were very grateful for what we did for their family member, enabling the resident to continue to enjoy food and maintain some dignity.

Q. What would you like to accomplish in your career in the next two years?

Finish my master’s. I just stepped into the regional dietitian role, so I’d like to continue to learn in that.

Q. What can you look back at now and laugh at?

We had a really bad snowstorm. I made it to the entrance of the facility and couldn’t get any further because they hadn’t plowed yet. I put on my snow boots and walked the rest of the way. A lot of the staff called out. There was no one to work in one of our personal care dining rooms, so a nurse and I served breakfast to everyone. I was running around serving breakfast in my snow boots.

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